Picks and Pans Review: Third and Oak: the Pool Hall

updated 11/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/06/1989 AT 01:00 AM EST

A&E (Thurs., Nov. 2, 9 P.M. ET)

B-

A presentation of the American Playwrights Theater, this teleplay was written by Marsha ('night Mother) Norman. And, as can be expected, the writing sparkles. James Earl Jones, as a charmless and serious pool hall owner, and Mario Van Peebles (Melvin's son), as a young and fanciful pool hustler, breathe life into their roles.

Like The Color of Money (which starred Paul Newman and Tom Cruise in another pool story), this rack-'em-up offers a chance to watch two pros, one crafty veteran and one relative newcomer, at the top of their game. The play starts too slowly and the resolution comes up too quickly, but sandwiched in between is a drama that doesn't miss a cue.

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